Monday, February 10, 2014

Aerial Omily: Something More

Have you bought your tickets for this month's MuseIam show at the Muse, featuring yours truly? It's next Sunday, February 16th at 8:00pm. Get all the details here! You save $5 a ticket when you buy them in advance. You're welcome.

With a performance barely a week away, you can imagine what I've been busy with at open workouts for the past month! Uh...running the piece once and then writing new choreo? Maaaaaybe..

The truth is, this piece has been in progress since, oh, March of 2013, and my body and mind are both a little tired of it. It's had two incarnations so far, and I'm inclined to think third time's the charm. I'm stronger, more flexible, and more skilled, so the technical aspects of the piece are much better than in previous performances, the choreo has been revamped here and there, with help from Nicki Miller (the master mind behind much of the technical improvement as well), and for this last performance, we've been focused on that nebulous something an aerial performance requires to keep your attention, and get to your heart, especially an aerial performance among lots of other aerial performances...Stage Presence! As opposed to auto-pilot, death grip, complete tricks one, two, and three and get the hell out of here lack of presence! Which is where I spent a solid year or two's worth of performances! Which is ok. You've just got to get yourself out there enough for the vulnerability of sharing your (he)art with an audience to not be so utterly terrifying as to turn you into metaphorical (and almost literal) stone.

I'm not past the terror yet, but I'm at a place where with a healthy dose of yoga philosophy, it's manageable. I'm not sure where this quote comes from, but it's a potent one: "It's ok to have butterflies in your stomach. You just want to get them flying in formation." You get nervous about something when that something is important to you. I don't ever want to be so blase about performing on the silks that I can do it in my sleep. But I can sit with that nervousness, instead of pushing it away, or associating it with an amateur status. I can let that extra energy inform my character, and fuel my performance, instead of building resistance around it, and judging myself for it.

So that's one goal for this performance: to actually be mentally present for the whole thing, to have memories of performing (what a novel thought!).

A related goal is to remember that there is an audience there, that there is a whole room there. There are beautiful, poetic moments that happen when it's just me and the fabric, and maybe a song guiding the rhythm of my journey around the silks...but contrary to my assumptions, that's not actually all that beguiling to watch. My inner rapture doesn't show on my face.

So the third related goal is to emote, to express something, to share at least a little of the narrative of my piece with the audience.

It's not enough to be strong, flexible, and know a lot of vocabulary on an aerial apparatus, just like it's not enough to be an incredible cook if you want to own a restaurant, or star in a cooking show. There are parallel, but separate skill sets you need to acquire. Better start now.

So, how well will I do? Well, I feel really good about what's happening when I rehearse, but you'll just have to come see the show and find out for yourself!!

See you this Sunday! Doors open at 7:30!

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